The hockey ‘hood

It may not be something in the water but it probably is something in the ice. Of the 22 boys on the Mt. Lebanon High School varsity hockey team, five live within a few blocks of each other, four on Vernon Drive and one on  Parkridge Lane. Senior defenseman Ricky Nassar, sophomore forward Tommy Horn, senior goalie Michael D’Orazio and freshman forward Vincent D’Orazio (Michael’s brother) all live on Vernon, with senior defenseman Stephen Beuke nearby on Parkridge.

If Vernon Drive and Parkridge Lane seceded from Mt. Lebanon, the high school hockey team would be in trouble. Almost a quarter of the team lives there. From left, Ricky Nassar, Michael D’Orazio, Stephen Beuke, Vince D’Orazio and Tommy Horn.

The whole thing started with Steven and Michael and expanded as the other guys got bitten by the bug. While they did play a little street hockey in their spare time at first, it was the ice of the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center that drew them. “It’s a really fast sport,” Michael says of the attraction, which grew from his love of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He started in a recreation department league in first grade and then moved onto the Hornets, other club teams and finally to the high school team. As the other guys joined, they started bonding. Even the parents felt the benefit—it’s easy to carpool when everyone’s so close.

“I just thought it would be fun to play with my brother,” says Vincent, who says you get to see another side of people when you compete with them. They say their friendship helps them when they’re pitted against other teams, but practicing against one another is fun, too:  “Everyone likes to score on Michael,” Ricky says with a laugh.